The Consumer Category
We bring you the chic and unique, the best and most bizarre shopping offers both online and offline. We offer you tips on where to buy, and some of the less mainstream and crazy, individual and offbeat items on the internet. Anything that can be bought and sold can be featured here. And we love showcasing the best and worst art and design.
LI Hui is a cigarette tester. She tests them by smoking them. And she loves her job:
As one of hundreds of “tobacco appraisers” in China, Li Hui, a petite, pony-tailed mother, has been smoking up to 30 cigarettes a day for more than 20 years. “It’s my job, and I like it,” Li explained in a long profile in the Global Times, a Chinese state-run newspaper. “Besides, I haven’t seen anyone around me or my friends getting sick from smoking yet.”
Li’s attitude, and the fact that she works for an officially-sanctioned company, Heilongjiang Tobacco Industrial, encapsulate the paradoxes China faces in dealing with a smoking epidemic. The country has over 320 million smokers, more than the population of the United States and over one-third of the world’s total, and the government has been taking small steps to try to discourage smoking, as Quartz previously reported. But with the country’s tobacco regulator and much of the tobacco industry controlled by the state – and tobacco taxes making up as much as 10 percent of state revenues – it’s a tough battle.
Eradicating invasive species over dinner: Lionfish on a bed of leopard cat and snapping turtle gizards
THE best way to eradicate invading foreign species of creature is to eat them. In Houston, Lionfish is on the menu:
“Four bar seats face the area where Gaston prepares a variety of internationally themed delicacies, from sashimi to ceviche, crudo, mana, steak tartare, and the lionfish dish, Poisson Cru. He places a sizeable fillet on the board, deftly slices it into strips and lays them out on a dish. He mixes coconut milk with ginger and chiles in a bowl, pours it over the fish and adds morsels of fresh orange and olive oil. I enjoy it with a gimlet made with Tito’s Ruby Red vodka, an excellent complement to the flavors. Cove Bar also serves a list of wines by the glass and bottle, a selection of draught and bottle beers and daily drink specials. Downing my plate of lionfish, I’ve not only enjoyed a delicious appetizer; I’ve done a good deed, as well.”
IT’S certainly true that we’re seeing more people turning up at foodbanks hoping to get some free food. And yes, we do indeed agree that most people would be somewhat embarrassed at doing so: this isn’t just people clocking on to the idea that they can get something for free.
ROBERT Jackson will now teach us how to use the toilet.
Key point to look out for:
* Everybody flushes twice. But you still need a solvent (once a year) and a stick.
* For the “sake of neatness and cleanliness” males over 4-feet tall should sit down to use the toilet.
* “It is necessary after using the toilet to clear the urine channel”
* Use a stepping stool to imitate the squatting position
THE baby tiger born at London Zoo has died. The Sumatran tiger drowned in a pool in the zoo’s new enclosure, which opened in March this year. Tiger Territory is a specialist breeding centre for tigers.
OR rather, the Mail might want to try and find a different measure of failure. For Apple has, as we all know, released two new iPhones, the iPhone 5c and the iPhone 5s. Which seem to be selling pretty well: they shifted 9 million pieces over their first weekend which is many, many, more than they’ve done in the first few days of any other iPhone model. But here’s the Mail:
Is the iPhone5C a failure? Apple ‘halves’ production and slashes the price of its handset in China due to ‘dismal sales’
A LONDON academy wants to ban use of the world “like”. The fools. Jay Henrichs explain their idiocy:
Let’s use a figure of speech to make up new words. This is dangerous in high school or a government agency, where verbal originality often gets duly punished. You might also face condemnation from people who consider novel usage a linguistic impurity. But the words will come, whether we want them to or not. Better you and I should invent them than some adolescent on the street or, worse, some adolescent behind a computer.
WE’VE got a great little example here of how markets and bureaucrats work. Steely Neelie, the EU telecoms Tsar, is insisting that the mobile telephone companies will have to stop charging people for data roaming. That’s the idea that when you cross a border you start getting charged a fortune for your online access.
Europe’s digital tsar Neelie Kroes has been defending her call for greater integration of telcos across Europe, and appears to be arguing that what she described as “artificial” lowered roaming revenues should not hinder the telcos’ greater investment in European infrastructure.
Neelie’s plan is to get rid roaming charges across Europe by forcing operators to scrape them altogether, or offer customers the almost-impractical option of an Alternative Roaming Partner, but operators won’t give up on their revenue stream so easily and are lobbying to water down the legislation before it goes to the vote.
WHO write “I AM GAY” on a man’s luggage in baggage stickers?
The man noticed the artwork when he picked up his bag off the carousel after a Jetstar flight from Perth, Australia.
The man, a married father-of-two, is “disgusted“.
But who did it? Says he:
”I know nobody there. It was after midnight and the flight delayed over an hour… idle hands, perhaps.”
Well, that’s baggage handlers for you.
A Jetstar spokesman responds:
“We are taking this matter very seriously and we have contacted the passenger to apologise for any distress caused.”
Still. It could have been worse…
OBJECTS of desire: The PSYCHEDELIC CAT SWEATER.
STANLEY Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was a film about… Well, what is about? In 1969, Kubrick told Joseph Gelmis:
You begin with an artifact left on earth four million years ago by extraterrestrial explorers who observed the behavior of the man-apes of the time and decided to influence their evolutionary progression. Then you have a second artifact buried deep on the lunar surface and programmed to signal word of man’s first baby steps into the universe—a kind of cosmic burglar alarm. And finally there’s a third artifact placed in orbit around Jupiter and waiting for the time when man has reached the outer rim of his own solar system.
When the surviving astronaut, Bowman, ultimately reaches Jupiter, this artifact sweeps him into a force field or star gate that hurls him on a journey through inner and outer space and finally transports him to another part of the galaxy, where he’s placed in a human zoo approximating a hospital terrestrial environment drawn out of his own dreams and imagination. In a timeless state, his life passes from middle age to senescence to death. He is reborn, an enhanced being, a star child, an angel, a superman, if you like, and returns to earth prepared for the next leap forward of man’s evolutionary destiny.
That is what happens on the film’s simplest level. Since an encounter with an advanced interstellar intelligence would be incomprehensible within our present earthbound frames of reference, reactions to it will have elements of philosophy and metaphysics that have nothing to do with the bare plot outline itself.
WHEN you cock-up at work, with some sly behaviour, you can get away with murder. However, if you work in a supermarket, surrounded by CCTV, it isn’t so easy.
Especially when you’re the poor sod who destroys a whole section of lovely, lovely booze.
WHAT is Banksy, the artists, were an elderly man selling his work from a street stall? Would you want it? Would you buy it? What’s it worth?
This video either shows us that:
a) Bansky’s gallery art is overpriced.
b) Bansky’s gallery art is overpriced.
IS this the world’s longest chip? The 28-inch mega-fry was found by Tuscaloosa resident Gary Young with his Arby’s beef and cheddar meal. He said:
“I was shocked. That’s like the biggest fry I’ve ever seen. I thought it was a snake.”
AS seen on eBay: “Half-Chewed Cole Haan Wingtip by Emerging Canine Artist, Left Shoe, Size 11.5D”
The emerging artist is a Dalmatian mix called Jack from Lee County, Virginia.
PLUGGING her book of fiction The Queen of Four Kingdoms (‘The epic true story of a rich and riveting period of French and English history, all witnessed by the captivating and complex heroine Yolande”), Princess Michael of Kent shows off some remarkable gems. She remains very uncommon in the Sunday Times interview:
I have a tray brought to my bedroom at 9am. Breakfast is served on my Herend china and I sit in an old armchair so I can read the papers. I have zero-fat yoghurt with cinnamon, which is meant to be a fat-burner, and a pot of ginger tea made with grated ginger. This I have with lavender honey and one plain Ryvita. Life is a battle against the expanding waistline, so some mornings I just have a fresh juice made from five vegetables that my manicurist told me about. It’s frightfully good.
TO write I Am Malala: The Girl who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Christina Lamb spent a year in Birmingham with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban. A few extracts from it. One notable fact is that her mother, Tor Pekai, is illiterate.
I had travelled up from London by train with her agent. As I am quickly to discover, there is a circus of people around Malala, including a leading PR company, an investment-banker friend of the family, do-good celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, and even former prime minister Gordon Brown, who hired Malala’s dad as an adviser to his own role as global education envoy for the UN. Everyone wants a part of her.
BREAKING BAD is a show that divides everyone straight down the middle. You’ve got people who haven’t seen it and you’ve got people who love it, constantly tweet about it and make everyone else hate it even more. There is no middle ground.
On the Mental And I Love It side of things, one fan spent $9,900 on the underpants worn by Walter White from Breaking Bad. One can assume that Walter White had more than one pair of undercrackers, but there you go.
The show collaborated with Sony Pictures and Screenbid to hold a 10-day auction, where fans could bid for all manner of things.
JUXTAPOSITION of the day: The title of Sharon Osbourne’s book (Unbreakable) looks somewhat hyperbolic when put next to Malala (I Am Malala):
THE debate over circumcision – the Council of Europe wants it banned for under-18s – could lead to a loss of business for VIAFAN-ATLAS. Who they?
Viafin-Atlas are the world leaders in the manufacture of artificial foreskin for circumcised men. After extensive research and development, Viafin-Atlas proudly offer the SenSlip – the world’s first ever artificial retractable foreskin for circumcised men.
But why would you need a synthetic foreskin? To get access to the country club? No. It’s the sex, dummy:
The SenSlip helps restore the sensitivity to the penis of circumcised men. It protects the head of the penis against dryness and chafing caused by constant exposure to clothing. It looks, feels and works similar to a real foreskin.
HOW do you want to die? Dudefood has created a new way: the oreo-breaded deep-fried ice-cream. A tribe of tame Iowans lick the filling out; then the biscuits are mashed, the Iowans regurgitate the cream; the crunchy goo is mixed into ice cream; coated in egg; stuck to biscuit bits; and then it is deep-fat fried in oil:
I wasn’t sure how well the Oreo cookie filling would work as part of a breading so I went through a package of cookies removing the filling from each cookie. Don’t worry though, because I didn’t let it go to waste. Instead, I mixed the cookie filling right into the ice cream! Yep, Cookies and Cream ice cream, mixed with Oreo cookie filling breaded in Oreo cookies!
One pint ended up being enough for five pretty decently sized balls of ice cream and after those sat in my freezer for about 30 minutes — mixed with the Oreo filling of course — I dipped each one in an egg wash and then rolled them around in crushed up Oreo cookies before placing them back in the freezer for another ten minutes or so. Then, just to make sure the breading was thick enough, I dipped each ice cream ball in the egg wash once again and rolled them in the crushed up Oreos a second time before putting them back in the freezer.
After 30 minutes my ice cream was finally ready for the deep fryer so I dropped each ball of ice cream in the 375° oil for about ten seconds, snapped a few photos and then started to eat! This is one of those times when I wish I owned a restaurant or a food truck or something just so you guys could actually taste the stuff I make because just saying over and over how great it is doesn’t do it any justice. This Oreo Cookie Breaded Deep Fried Ice Cream was good!